A broken rib didn’t slow Scott Pye down in the first practice session on the streets of the Gold Coast, with the DJR Team Penske topping the times ahead of Lee Holdsworth.
Pye, who is nursing a broken rib from his Bathurst 1000 crash, popped up fairly late in the session, going fastest with a 1m11.996s with seven minutes of the half-hour session remaining. He then improved to a 1m11.707s on his next lap, before handing the car over to co-driver Marcos Ambrose for the last five minutes.
Lee Holdsworth went very close to nabbing top spot in the closing seconds of the session in the Team Eighteen Commodore, a two-lap run in the final minute putting him third with a low 1m12s, before going just 0.039s short of Pye’s time on the next lap.
Tim Slade and Nick Percat also found some speed late in the session, slotting into P3 and P4 respectively inside the last 60 seconds.
Jamie Whincup dominated the early running in the session, dipping straight into competitive times with a 1m12.895s on his first run.
Running soft tyres, the reigning series champion then continued to improve down to a 1m12.033s. But his session came to a premature end when he tagged the wall at the first chicane with around 13 minutes of the session remaining, spinning the #1 Commodore and doing some light damage to the rear suspension.
“A little bit too much, just clipped the rear on the wall,” Whincup explained.
“Generally this thing is pretty bulletproof, but we bent one of the arms in the rear.”
He still wound up fifth fastest, just ahead of Dale Wood.
Points leader Mark Winterbottom was seventh fastest, having set his time on hard tyres. His closest title rival Craig Lowndes was just 16th fastest, 1.2s off the lead pace.
James Courtney, returning from an injury he sustained way back at the Sydney Motorsport Park round, was 13th fastest.